Dry July 2021 #blogdown

I decided a couple of months ago to participate in Dry July, an event which commits a person to live alcohol-free for a month to raise funds for cancer charities. My rationale was that, if I’m in recovery from an operation, and unable to mix alcohol with medication, I may as well do something worthwhile with that time!

And then a snap 5 day hard lockdown was announced and my first instinct was to reach for a drink (my second instinct was to eat bread- I am addicted to carbs of the TipTop variety). I didn’t touch the drink, but it made me think about how stressful situations such as lockdowns trigger a visceral reaction to drink or to stress eat.

I drank more than usual in the first lockdowns last year. Even as an introvert I did not mind the stay at home, but the daily news, and the necessity of the lockdown made it easy to have a wine, or a gin and tonic at the end of the day. Coupled with the sourdough craze and my daughter’s discovery of stress baking, I gained weight, which has now begun to come off (huzzah!). Needless to say, I did not participate in Dry July last year 🙂

If you can spare a few dollars, please donate to my page. Funds will go to the Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre.

PS I am not an expert in sobriety, but if you wish to know more, please check out Jill Stark. She is on Instagram and has written extensively about her sobriety and mental health.

In vino veritas

Crutches #blogdown

I have a new hip! It’s a month old today and I am negotiating the world with a crutch, a pick up stick and slip on shoes with a long handled shoe horn.

I occasionally feel like a toddler because I can’t tie my shoelaces, I will coast around a room holding on to furniture or benches and the special toilet seat is really high. Due to my inability to bend at the moment, I am also not doing any meaningful housework like laundry (I have a laundry fairy at the moment). However I can now drive, so yay me!

Lockdown 5 is different in that I’m on personal leave and currently not working from home as in the previous lockdowns. My limited mobility for the last month has also meant that today feels like I’ve been in lockdown for a while anyway, leaving home only for medical reasons.

In this month of recovery, I have relied on a few metaphorical crutches to get me though.

I have been lucky to have a family able to head to the shops for groceries, and the post office, and am thankful for my husband to pick up books from the library. Bart was also able to take time off work to help me in the first week with getting into bed, making me meals, and putting on and off the compression socks I have to wear.

My mum and dad, and sister and brother have visited from Geelong and Melbourne with food and well wishes, and numerous phone calls and messages. Dad and I have been comparing notes on our respective hip replacement surgeries, and has been a fount of advice 🙂

I am using my down time reading all the books I had been meaning to read and have a long list of books for which I am on the reserve list at the local library. Retreating into a book has been an escape from reality mechanism that I have long employed since a child.

Crocheting has been my crafty crutch and it has been a great time to continue with current projects, start new ones and *whisper* buy yarn for new projects. Currently I am doing Crochet Academy by Toni from TLYarnCrafts, which has been a great way to fill in the knowledge gaps about yarn, hooks and stitches so far. Toni has a YouTube Channel through which I discovered her, which mentions crochet hacks, and stitch demonstrations and discussions about yarn and hooks…all great stuff!

Finally, everyone who has messaged, called, sent flowers and cards, thank you- it has meant a lot and has been great to hear from you all.

Lego widow #blogjune

Lego scene

Happy birthday to my husband Bart, also known as Mr BG to previous readers of this blog.

He has had periods of obsession over the years- Lounge music, Jamaican Ska, Paleolithic archaeology, Genealogy all of which has eventually fizzled out. At the moment, it is Star Wars Lego.

Thanks to Lego Masters, the arrival of Disney+ in our life (which has brought more Star Wars to the house), and the period of enforced stay at home orders due to the COVID-19 crisis, this lifetime interest has become more intense over the last couple of months.

Kits have been reassembled, and our own shelves at home have been ‘reorganised’ to display the results. Shop shelves have been regularly canvassed and found quite bare, which has led us to eBay, and competitive bidding for minifigs of Ewoks. I know more about the vagaries of rare minifigs than I care to remember 🙂

On the plus side, it has been lovely to see Bart and my teenage son building Lego together on the weekends, and Bart arranging his sets on the shelves, moving the minifigs here and there. And there have been fewer Lego bricks on the floor compared to 10 years ago, for which my bare feet are thankful!

Sounds #blogjune

Poster of Berlin Pop Fest 2010- another part of the backdrop of my workspace

I stare at an ivy-covered fence and trellis from my window, which obscures the cream stuccoed wall of the house next door. The green is restful on the eyes, but I have found myself listening more to outside sounds during lockdown.

It has been quiet these last couple of months, compared to my office at work. There, I had the hum of traffic from outside my window and the sirens of the nearby fire station and ambulances zipping to the Ballarat Base Hospital just down the street.

Even when all of us were at home, we were pretty quiet during the work and school day, apart from the online meetings, which were periods of silence with the occasional statement from husband or daughter, or monosyllabic answer from son.

After work and school, we would have music, with Bart and teen son, playing and making music. Son has taught himself the guitar while in lockdown and has come along really well!

The hum of the heating has been present throughout my stay, as has the sound of power tools from a renovation happening two doors down the street. Tinkerbell, a little dog from two doors up has been making her presence known from persistent yaps as people walk past her house.

Things are beginning to wake up from the sounds I hear- the voices of little people from next door’s family daycare, the sound of the school bell from my children’s old primary school, and more traffic noise from the main street.

Paradoxically, it feels quieter during the day as I am the only one left at home. The solitude is nice, but it is a relief to see the family as they arrive in dribs and drabs back home.

It’s not mine #blogjune

Guitar

My work from home space is known as the Red Room, with a tall ceiling, red walls, a huge fireplace- I think it was originally the kitchen at one point. It is where the ironing goes, as well as our music collection of CDs, and this guitar.

I am more of a music appreciator, rather than a player- the guitar belongs to Bart. The guitar is definitely a talking point of many a Zoom meeting and as a result, my work colleagues have come to know more about my life as the musically challenged wife of an indie pop legend.

The Lake #blogjune

Lake Wendouree looking towards rowing finishing line

The Lake in Ballarat parlance refers to Lake Wendouree, once natural wetlands converted into a lake for recreational purposes in the 1860s. It was the site of the rowing events for the 1956 Olympic Games and for many years has played a part in the annual Begonia Festival’s parade on Labour Day. It is quite shallow, and has been known to dry up and catch fire in times of drought- it is not a good place to hide a dead body.

There have been impromptu picnics with fish and chips on hot nights, visits to the farmer’s market, attending the Begonia Festival in the nearby Botanical Gardens, and the occasional lunch and dinner at one of the many cafes and restaurants that dot the surrounds.

I have walked, ran, or ridden round the Lake too many times to count, pushing a pram, or guiding a little person around on their first big ride, running with friends, or simply by myself, enjoying the stillness and the cold.